November 13: Happy Birthday Whoopi Goldberg and Garry Marshall
Whoopi Goldberg turns 61 today. After appearing in an avant-garde film called Citizen: I’m Not Losing My Mind, I’m Giving it Away, she created a one-woman stage show, originally titled The Spook Show. Mike Nichols offered to produce it on Broadway, where it ran for several months. One person who saw it was none other than Steven Spielberg, who offered Goldberg the lead role in his adaptation of Alice Walker’s The Color Purple.
Goldberg was nominated for an Oscar for The Color Purple, and later won one for Best Supporting Actress in Ghost. A recording of her aforementioned Broadway show earned her a Grammy for Best Comedy Recording. She has a pair of Daytime Emmys, one as host of The View, one for hosting Beyond Tara, a TV documentary about actress Hattie McDaniel. And she has won a Tony as the producer of the original Broadway production of the musical Thoroughly Modern Millie (adapted from the 1967 film). This makes her one of the tiny number of winners of the unofficial honor called an EGOT.
The late Garry Marshall (1934-2016) is the second member of his family to headline one of these articles; his sister Penny was featured here a few weeks ago. Marshall began working in television in the late 1950s, working as a writer on shows like The Dick Van Dyke Show and The Lucy Show, and then began developing/creating his own shows. He developed the television adaptation of the play and movie The Odd Couple, then created a series of late 1970s hits—Happy Days, Laverne and Shirley, and one other:
Mork & Mindy was a big hit during its first season, but didn’t have the staying power of Marshall’s other shows. Starting in the 1980s, Marshall moved into directing films. He has been consistently known for comedies, and recently for hyperlink rom-coms like Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day. However, his biggest achievements as a director have almost certainly been the films that introduced us to a pair of major stars, Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman and Anne Hathaway in The Princess Diaries.
Gerard Butler turns 47 today. The Scottish actor left a potential legal career behind to pursue a career in acting. He is known for rules such as the title character in The Phantom of the Opera, King Leonidas in 300, Mike Banning in Olympus Has Fallen and London Has Fallen, and the voice of Stoick the Vast in the How to Train Your Dragon films. Actor and comedian Steve Zahn turns 49. He has spent a fair amount of his career in comic relief and/or sidekick roles, such as Glenn Michaels in Out of Sight or Al Giordino in Sahara. Sometimes he has had lead roles, as in the indie film Happy, Texas, or straight character parts, as in Shattered Glass. Joe Mantegna, who is 69 today, is known for his association with David Mamet; he won a Tony for starring in Mamet’s play Glengarry Glen Ross and starred in Mamet’s films House of Games, Things Change and Homicide. He has starred on CBS’s Criminal Minds since its third season.
Noah Hathaway, who is 45 today, is best remembered for his work as a child actor, as Boxey in the original Battlestar Galactica series and as Atreyu in The Neverending Story. Devon Bostick celebrates his 25th; he has played older brother Roderick Heffley (Steve Zahn plays the father) in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid movies and stars on the CW’s The 100. Neil Flynn is 56; he has been a prime-time regular for the last 15 years as Janitor on Scrubs, and then as Mike Heck on The Middle. Don Gordon, who is turning 90, was an Emmy nominee for the CBS series The Defenders and was a close friend of Steve McQueen, which brought him roles in films like Bullitt and The Towering Inferno. Frances Conroy, who celebrates her 63rd, was a Golden Globe winner and four time Emmy nominee for Six Feet Under, and has picked up two more Emmy nominations for American Horror Story. Chris Noth, who turns 62, was a Golden Globe nominee for Sex and the City and more recently for The Good Wife. Jimmy Kimmel, who turns 49 today, hosts the appropriately titled late-night talk show Jimmy Kimmel Live!, known for its frequent, apologetic ending:
Linda Christian (1923-2011) was a contract player at MGM for several years, who is remembered for two things. One was her marriage to Tyrone Power, the other was that, as James Bond fanatics know, she was the first “Bond Girl” ever, in the 1954 TV adaptation of Casino Royale. Art Malik, who turns 64, is another actor with a Bond connection; he played Kamran Shah, the Oxford-educated mujahadeen, in The Living Daylights. The Pakistani actor made his debut in the British miniseries The Jewel in the Crown and appeared in True Lies as a nuclear terrorist.
Oskar Werner (1922-1984) was an Austrian actor who began working in German language cinema, but became an international star in the 1960s; he played Jules in Truffaut’s Jules and Jim, won a Golden Globe for The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, and was an Oscar nominee for Ship of Fools. German actor Karl-Otto Alberty turns 83 today. He worked in German film but also found plenty of work in English-language film and television, playing various German officers or officials in films like The Great Escape, Battle of Britain, Kelly’s Heroes, and the US miniseries The Winds of War and War and Remembrance.
Jean Seberg (1938-1979) made her acting debut in Otto Preminger’s film of George Bernard Shaw’s play Saint Joan, playing the title role. Although accompanied by a big publicity campaign, the film was a failure. Seberg settled in France and appeared in a number of French New Wave films, notably Godard’s Breathless, before committing suicide at 40. Richard Mulligan (1932-2000) was a two-time Emmy winner, once as Burt Campbell on Soap and the second time as Dr. Harry Weston on Empty Nest. Jack Elam (1920-2003) was best known for his Western roles; after toiling as a villain in any number of films and TV guest appearances, he found his most successful niche as a comic sidekick in films like Support Your Local Sheriff. English character actress Hermione Baddeley (1906-1986) was an Oscar nominee for Room at the Top and a Tony nominee for The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore. She played Ellen, the maid, in Mary Poppins, and also did voice work for Disney in The AristoCats and The Secret of NIMH. Edwin Booth (1833-1893) was a famous 19th Century stage actor, often referred to as the finest Hamlet of that century, but most likely remembered today as the older brother of a man who assassinated a US President.
Howard Hill (1899-1975) was a champion archer who once won nearly 200 consecutive field archery competitions. He also produced a number of films on archery and often acted as a technical advisor to films which had archery sequences. He was the one who did all the impressive archery feats in The Adventures of Robin Hood, and can be briefly seen as one of Errol Flynn’s competitors in the big archery tournament.
Novelist and poet Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894) wrote classic adventure novels like Treasure Island and Kidnapped, the horror novella Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and the poetry collection A Child’s Garden of Verses. His literary reputation seems to ebb and flow, but his storytelling skills have always made his books popular, many of them frequently being adapted to film and television.
If today is your birthday, congratulations on sharing your big day with these notable names. Birthday wishes to everyone celebrating a big day today. Come back tomorrow for more celebrity birthdays.
Posted on November 13, 2016, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged Frances Conroy, Garry Marshall, Gerard Butler, Jean Seberg, Joe Mantegna, Robert Louis Stevenson, Steve Zahn, whoopi goldberg. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.